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A Bottle Full of Raspberries

Fine Cooking Issue 79
Photos, except where noted: Amy Albert
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When I think of fruit wines, I can’t help but think of cough syrup: thick and cloying with a crushing sweetness. But Chaucer’s hand-crafted raspberry wine from Bargetto, a small family winery in Soquel, California, is a surprisingly pleasant exception. Made from locally grown berries, this wine is like a fragrant mouthful of raspberries; less sweet than most dessert wines, it has a nice, dry finish. Try serving it with chocolate soufflé (or any chocolate dessert) or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

Chaucer’s Raspberry Wine costs $14 for 500ml at Bargetto.com.

The Bargetto family harvests raspberries over several growing cycles and quick-freezes them before consolidating the loads. They make raspberry wine just like grape wine. Except raspberries don’t have enough sugar to ferment into alcohol, so winemaker Michael Sones stirs sugar into the raspberry must before natural fermentation occurs in stainless-steel tanks. No artificial flavors or colors are added. The wine, which is not fortified, contains only 10.5% alcohol and should be consumed fairly quickly after bottling.

On dumping day, the raspberries are poured into large vats.
Winemaker Michael Sones stirs sugar into the raspberry must to aid fermentation.
After measuring the sugar level with a hydrometer, Michael smells and tastes the must to get a sense of fruit and acid balance.
After the berry must is pumped into tanks, assistant winemaker Eleni Papadakis adds yeast to start fermentation.


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